End of February, Etsy introduced its new advertising service: Etsy Offsite Ads. Etsy will show ads of your products on Google, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Bing for free. You only pay an advertising fee if somebody buys a product from you. It’s basically risk-free advertising.
Well, for some sellers it is, for some, it’s not. Because here’s the catch: Etsy offsite ads are automatically activated for all the sellers. And if your Etsy shop made more than USD 10’000 in the past 365 days, etsy offsite ads are mandatory for you.
Of course, some of the sellers who are forced into offsite ads are angry now, because they pay an additional 12% fee if they get orders from offsite ads. For sellers who are doing well and bring their own traffic, that’s a lot of lost money.
However, if the ads are not mandatory for you, what should you do? Keep offsite ads? Turn them off?
Read on for my Etsy Offsite Ads review and decide what’s best for your shop.
Are Etsy Offsite Ads worth it?
For Etsy shop owners who made less than $10’000 USD in the past year, the Etsy offsite ad fee is 15%. That’s fine for me if I get some more sales in return. But do the ads actually bring in more sales?
Let’s have a look at my Etsy offsite ads stats of March and April.
My Etsy offsite ads dashboard tells me that from 241 offsite ad clicks, 9 lead to orders. That’s a conversion rate of 3.7%. My organic Etsy traffic conversion rate is usually between 4%-8%, so it’s not too far off.
The 9 orders brought in additional revenue of 23.34 Swiss Francs. That’s about USD 24.13. I’ll take that! I would have paid less than 4$ in advertising fees, but until May 4, 2020, the advertising fees are waived.
To set these extra bucks in context, let’s compare the offsite ads revenue to my total revenue of March and April:
March to April revenue was CHF 262.72, Offsite Ads revenue CHF 23.34, so Offsite Ads brought 8.9% additional income. That’s totally worth it for me.
What else can I see in my offsite ads dashboard?
For every click that lead to an order, I can see the following information listed:
- Advertised listing which has been clicked
- Date clicked
- Where it was advertised (e.g. on Google). So far my offsite ads orders came mostly from Google except for one Bing sale. My guess is that most of my listings don’t qualify for ads on Facebook and Instagram.
- Date of the sale
- Item bought: I know for sure that this does not have to be the same item as the advertised item. One of my offsite ads sales is an item that’s different from the advertised one. You pay the fee all the same.
- Sale value and Ad fee
There are some things I’m missing in the dashboard:
- I can’t see which of my listings get advertised outside of Etsy. Why not?
- I’d like to see clicks that did not lead to sales, and impressions. Right now, I just see clicks that lead to a sale. But which items did get clicks? How many people saw the ad? That could give me some hints to improve conversion.
I hope in time, Etsy will improve the offsite ads dashboard to answer those questions.
Should you opt-out or keep Etsy Offsite Ads?
Deciding whether you should opt-out or not isn’t that easy. So here are some things to consider to help you with that decision.
- It’s risk-free advertising. You only pay a fee when you get an order through an offsite-ad. Unlike other advertising services, clicks are free. You won’t burn through your ad budget without getting any orders.
- If you don’t know how to optimize your listings for search engine algorithms or drive traffic to your products, a 15% ad fee is quite a good deal (your time is money too!).
- My example shows that it can work – it’s totally possible to get additional orders.
- Any orders from customers who clicked on one of your offsite ads in the past 30 days will count as offsite ads orders and you Etsy charges you 15%. Even if that customer buys something that wasn’t advertised!
- Total of the order counts for fee calculation. People reported that Etsy includes shipping costs in the amount from which the ad fee is calculated.
- I assume you will also pay if that person comes back and orders something else (I guess Etsy sets a cookie that expires after 30 days). Not sure about this point though. If you know more, let us know in the comments!
- Right now, Etsy offers you limited insight into what’s going on. You don’t know which listings Etsy is advertising and where they are advertised.
- Etsy offsite ads are mandatory if your shop made more than $10’000 USD in the past 365 days
Make the decision that’s right for you and your shop
Now you have some pros and cons. To make a final decision, also consider the following points:
You might want to turn off Etsy ads if you…
- don’t want more orders. Yes, some Etsy sellers actually don’t want to get more orders because they fulfill them manually and can’t handle more. This could also be the case if you offer customized digital products or your buyers send you a lot of direct messages.
- already drive a lot of offsite traffic to your shop yourself, for example with social media or your blog
- have products that already rank high in Google
- pay for Offsite ads yourself and it’s cheaper, for example Google or Facebook ads
- want more control over what’s advertised and how
You might want to keep Etsy Offsite Ads active if you…
- want more sales
- don’t want to invest time in Marketing or tinker with SEO
- would be willing to invest time in marketing your products, but considering your resources, it would be more expensive than the 15% ad fee
- just want some additional sales until you’ve built up your own traffic sources. That’s what it is for me – I’m constantly building my social media presence and improving SEO, but it takes time.
How do you turn off Etsy Offsite Ads?
If you’ve made the decision to opt out, here’s how to opt-out of Etsy Offsite Ads:
First, go to your Shop Manager.
In the Settings menu, select “Offsite Ads”.
This will get you to the page where you can opt-out of Etsy Offsite Ads. Click the button “Stop promoting my products”, confirm and you’re done!
How to make your listings Etsy Offsite Ads ready
If you want to keep using Etsy offsite ads but you’re not getting any results, Etsy’s Offsite Ads checklist might help you to get your listings offsite ads ready.
In conclusion, I actually think for smaller sellers, it’s a good opportunity to get more sales. Nevertheless, it’s on cost of the sellers who can’t opt out, which is kind of unfair. But hey – Etsy owns Etsy, so in the end, they can do what they want and we all accept their terms and conditions when selling on the platform.
I’ll let Etsy Offsite Ads run for a few more months and see how it goes. What will you do? Let us know in the comments!